New Delhi (NVI): US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who concluded his October 12-14 visit to India, has laid emphasis on enhanced cooperation among the Quad member nations to create resilient supply chains, promote transparency, and increase maritime security, with special focus on a free and open Indo-Pacific.
At the India-US Forum yesterday, Biegun joined Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla to underscore the importance of the US-India partnership, particularly in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, said a release by the US State Department.
FS @harshvshringla met US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun for bilateral consultations over a diverse range of issues.
Highlighted convergences & shared interests between India-US.
Both sides reiterated their commitment to the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. pic.twitter.com/IbiGa7ltbG
— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) October 13, 2020
“The Deputy Secretary emphasized the work of the Quad toward a region protected and made prosperous in equal measure by strong and peaceful nations in the Indo-Pacific,” read the official statement.
During his meeting with FS Shringla, Biegun touched upon topics most recently discussed in the October 6 meeting of Foreign Ministers attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The US Deputy Secretary’s visit to India also comes amid a bitter stand-off between India and China at LAC (Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh). Recently, Pompeo had slammed Beijing’s coercive actions, including against India on the Ladakh border. His remarks came during Quad Foreign Ministers Meeting in Tokyo, which was also attended by EAM S Jaishankar.
The Quad Foreign Ministers (US, India, Australia and Japan) had met in Japan’s capital against the backdrop of growing aggression by China because of which most of its neighbors are troubled and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region has been hampered.
In his meetings with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla, and Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar, the Deputy Secretary discussed US efforts to work with India and like-minded partners on a range of issues including regional security, economic cooperation, and coordinated efforts to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from that, in New Delhi, Deputy Secretary Biegun also met with Bhutanese Ambassador to India Major General Vetsop Namgyel to reaffirm the United States’ close relationship with the people of Bhutan.
The Deputy Secretary also delivered keynote remarks at the India-US Forum and met with senior Indian government officials ahead of the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year.